Left Photo: A staff of DSWD Field Office V distributes financial assistance to families affected by the tremor that hit several towns in Masbate. Despite the emergency situation, beneficiaries followed the minimum health protocol by wearing their face masks and maintained social distancing while waiting for their turn to receive their cash assistance. 

Right Photo: Members of the DSWD Field Office V disaster team join a Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council meeting.    

Following the magnitude 6.6 earthquake that hit the province of Masbate on August 18, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), through its Field Office (FO) V, has immediately extended assistance to affected local government units (LGUs) in conducting a rapid damage assessment and needs analysis in the municipalities of Pio V Corpus, Palanas, and Cataingan.

As of  10 am, August 19,  some 66 families or 334 persons have been affected by the tremor. Of this number, 11 families or 40 persons are currently seeking temporary shelter at the Cataingan National High School.

As part of its augmentation assistance, DSWD FO V, in coordination with the Philippine Navy, will deliver about 2,000 family food packs to the province. In addition, tents and rolls of laminated sacks will also be sent to Cataingan.

Likewise, the FO started today the provision of burial and medical assistance, under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), for the affected locals at the Masbate Provincial Operations Office.  Distribution of cash assistance to families validated with partially damaged and totally damaged houses is also on going.

“We assure the local government units, especially Cataingan, that assistance is ready. Our staff are currently doing assessment in affected areas to determine the needs of residents,” FO Director Arnel Garcia said.

Director Garcia added that the FO has more than 22,000 available family food packs with 884 packs prepositioned at the Masbate Warehouse,  P24.9 million worth of non-food items, and P3 million standby funds that can be used to augment disaster operations.

DSWD continues to coordinate with the provincial government of Masbate for other requests for technical assistance and resource augmentation to ensure that all the needs of their affected constituents will be addressed.

Based on Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 and RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991, LGUs are the first responders in the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, while the DSWD augments their resources through the provision of family food packs and other food and non-food items. The Department also conducts learning and development interventions to capacitate local governments to provide them with the necessary knowledge and skills in responding to calamities and disasters. ###